I asked a group of Year 9 girls what word they would choose to describe life for young people today – the word they proposed was ‘fake’. This was a very telling answer.
While we’re living in a time where information is shared as never before, we cannot be sure that it is true, or that a photo is who or what it appears to be. Filters, photoshopping, deep fakes – and false news or conspiracies are all confusing. Does it matter? Well in a world pandemic it has hit home how much we depend on accurate information and how easily untrue rumours or conspiracies are spread. In the first week of the lockdown one-quarter of us in the UK accessed news 20 or more times a day [source].
It does not help to share tips for Coronavirus ‘cures’ – some people are made ill by these and ‘theories’ about how the virus started have caused racist attacks.
Fake news can be spread by bots, artificial intelligence and algorithms, as well as ourselves. BBC Newsround showed a group of children a number of fake news stories and asked them which ones they believed. When told they were all fake, the children found that truth hard to believe. It is harder for children and young people to tell the difference.
We need to know the truth now as never before. This is time for critical thinking skills – ask:
Fact checker websites:
Ofcom has also put together a list.
Facebook shut down 5.4 billion fake accounts in 2019 [source].
Report fake accounts and pages that often spread misinformation to the social media provider.
Google has created a game to play with your child – which helps children identify what is real or fake.
See more articles and resources to help children stay safe online.